The words “classical” and “traditional” have an image of difficulty. In fact, my own first impression of traditional astrology was that it was fatalistic, dark, and heavy when I started with it. This article describes the appeal of traditional astrology compared to modern astrology.
What are the characteristics of traditional astrology?
To begin with the superficial differences, traditional astrology is characterized by a more straightforward divination process than modern astrology. In traditional astrology, the meanings given to the celestial bodies and houses are precise, and there are many rules and checkpoints. For better or worse, that is its appeal, so if you want to provide your clients with precise divination results, traditional astrology may help. Horary astrology is one good example. So what is the fundamental difference between the two? For example, poetry and articles are the same in that they both convey something. However, expression differs greatly depending on the premise, whether based on emotion or impressions, thought or theory. The relationship between traditional and modern is similar to these differences.
Is modern astrology a simplified version of traditional astrology?
Some see modern astrology as a simplified version of traditional astrology, but slightly different. The rules of traditional astrology have indeed been greatly simplified. But in the last 100 years, new methods and interpretations have emerged. And they have gone in the opposite direction of simplification.
So why were the rules of traditional astrology simplified in modern times? I believe the clue lies in the “shift in perspective” that occurred in the past (since the 17th century). There was a shift from a fatalistic worldview dominated by divine forces to a human-centered worldview. Since ancient times, the debate of “fate or free will” has been around. Still, the question is a watershed that shows the difference in the assumptions of traditional astrology and modern astrology.
Free Will and Fate
Modern astrology is a deeper exploration of personal growth and the state of mind. It does not ignore fate but treats it as an environmental soundtrack in the background of life. What is important is how we want to be and what kind of flow we are in; subjectivity and free will are the centers of our perspective. I believe that the role of modern astrology is to draw an auxiliary line through astrology to that subjectivity.
The workings of the heavens appear in the stars, and their aspects are reflected on earth. This is the premise of traditional astrology. For this reason, ancient astrologers tried to determine the relationship between the heavens and the material world. Many of them placed the destiny indicated by the heavens above the free will of man for convenience. Therefore, their main objective was “how to decipher the movement of the heavens,” in other words, they kept trying to interpret the heavenly principle called “destiny.”
Although astrology has undergone many changes throughout history, the method of “placing the heavens above the material world” was the common ground of astrology until the 17th century. Therefore, traditional astrology focuses on judgments and results, such as “what will happen when.” Many regulations are checkpoints that lead to judgments. Therefore, it does not have much affinity with imagery, free interpretation, or entertainment. On the other hand, such complicated rules have become rather obtrusive and unnecessary in modern astrology, which is not concerned with judgment.
The process of reading and deciphering celestial configurations according to rules is more like reading a foreign language with a reference book in your hand, and there are instructions everywhere that say, “In this case, read it this way. Therefore, the approach to reading and understanding is more limited than modern astrology. The speed of the planets, their position to the sun, the intensity of the light, whether it is night or day, etc., are all based on astronomical observations.
In my opinion, traditional astrology is not very useful for vague questions. The clearer the questions, the easier it is to make a judgment, and the clearer the results will be. The threshold is a bit high, but once you understand the method and structure, you will find that it is relatively straightforward. Traditional astrology is not the same for everyone. Each has its own way of thinking, its own emphasis, its own rules, and so on. There are differences in the methods and standards used in the Hellenistic-Arabic period and the Renaissance period. There are also cases where people look to pre-Hellenistic Babylonia and Egypt for solutions. (*1) Exploring the evolution of astrology over two thousand years. This also may be one of the most exciting aspects of traditional astrology.
1: Hellenistic period (Ancient Greece), Arabic period (5th-14th century), Renaissance period (14th-16th century), Babylonian (Mesopotamian civilization), Egyptian (Egyptian civilization)
This article is a translation of a piece I wrote for little light.